Phillip Stokes was so impressed by Hucklebuck’s spring campaign in Melbourne that the trainer is planning to all-but bypass the 2015 autumn and winter racing carnivals to focus entirely on the spring.
The four-year-old gelding had little time to rest this year after backing up from autumn and winter campaigns into the spring but still managed to deliver some outstanding results. Hucklebuck won all three of his spring starts.
He began with a win in the Listed Durbridge Stakes (1200m) first up before stepping up to group racing and winning the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m). The gelding then backed up for the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) one week later. He settled three back from the fence before easing out around the bend. He staved off the late swooping Lucky Hussler to win by a neck in the best run of his career.
Stokes confirmed to TVN that the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 9 – his home town’s premier sprint race – will be Hucklebuck’s sole race before the 2015 spring carnival. He will not travel to Sydney for the autumn nor Brisbane for the winter.
“We’re not going to worry about Sydney with him,” Stokes said.
“We’re going to give him a decent break. We’ll run him in the Goodwood then give him another break then bring him over for the spring.
“He did a good job to come up after being in Brisbane. He didn’t winter very well and I didn’t think he looked right here over the spring.
“We’ll reward him with a good break.”
Hucklebuck has already shown Stokes he doesn’t like clockwise racing after finishing fourth in the Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben during the winter before placing sixth in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm the following month.
“He didn’t go any good up in Brisbane that way of going, so I’ve ruled all that out and I’m just going to aim at the Goodwood here in May,” the trainer said.
“With the set weights of the race he should get into it OK and then after that we’ll just aim him at Melbourne in the spring.”
Following the 2015 Goodwood, Hucklebuck will again be aimed towards Melbourne during the spring.
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